Using a slow, modulation based algorithm, modern hearing aids excel at promoting speech clarity. New circuits raise the speech-to-noise ratio resulting in increased word discrimination. In other words, the hearing aid identifies and amplifies speech while reducing surrounding noises. The circuit can differentiate speech from noise due to the natural pauses and inflections unique to spoken word.
Also, hearing aids identify the type of noise and employ different strategies to minimize it. Noises are identified as either "impulse" or "continuous" and are reduced with varying "attack and release" strategies. Sudden, harsh sounds are neutralized while other sounds are appropriately enhanced. Modern hearing instruments work to suppress all types of surrounding noise from multiple directions simultaneously while also following the source of speech. This feature empowers the hearing aid to analyze the current listening environment, identify the source of speech (front, beside, behind), and select the appropriate microphone configuration to promote the highest level of speech intelligibility for the listener. This enables the hearing aid wearer to:
- Hear passengers speaking from the backseat while driving a car
- Participate in conversations in noisy environments like restaurants
- Hear the caregiver who is pushing the wheelchair
Click here for more information on how the Siemens Micon promotes speech clarity in noisy environments.